Chapter 13 – Following the Night-Traveler!
The various Jung Do-ins began to scatter. Their only concern now was the result of the voting, which would be in the evening. The leading members of the 4 Powers of Jung Do gathered in small groups and started discussing the matter. Nangong Hyuk Ryun poked at Pa Chun’s side.
“Sir, it’s time we leave. The performance is over; why don’t we wait for the next one?”
“Tsk, how boring… that was it? I was expecting something more exciting…”
“Right. For example, a duel with those who disagrees with you. Things like that you know?”
“Haha, Murim-ins are not so hardcore. If that was what you were expecting, then your disappointment must be great.”
Even on the way back to the inn, Pa Chun laid out suggestions that seemed too absurd for Nangong Hyuk Ryun.
“Why can’t the representatives of the schools just fight it out? If they’re planning on fighting the Ma Do Alliance, won’t they have to elect a leader for the Jung Do Alliance? The strongest can be the leader, and the rest can be his minions… now that sounds more like Murim. Don’t you agree?”
Although he was half-joking, the other half was his honest opinion. After all, strength was what mattered the most in Murim. Humans are imperfect creatures; who could declare one side to be correct? Was it not the strong that decided the course of history? More often than not, these powerful people weren’t righteous, often being shrewd and deceptive. But after grasping strength to decide the course of history, who would dare to say their actions were wrong? This was reality. If the Ma Do dominated Murim, it would be the Ma Do that was the righteous path*. The extent that one side oppressed the other would surely impact how the future generation viewed them, but for the people of the present era, such things were meaningless. Pa Chun’s head was filled with such thoughts. Knowing this, he did not hate or despise his uncle. As he had been powerless and inept, he saw what happened as the logical conclusion.[TN: remember Jung Do means Righteous Path]
After returning to the Guest Reception Pavilion, Pa Chun started to deliberate on what he should do. First, he had to gather up a force. He currently had a few different identities. The first was his original identity as the Gunmun Emperor, but this identity no longer had any meaning, as he even had to hide it from the world. The second was as Chun Ma’s disciple, Pa Chun. His plan was to unite the Ma Do under this name. Before doing so, however, he knew he had to first find the descendants of the Heavenly Demon School. His third identity was as the Jade Faced Divine Dragon, Mun-Yun. As Mun-Yun, Pa Chun wanted to overtake the Gae Bang, the Five Clans Union, the Nine Jung Alliance, and the secret forces gathered up by the twin Nohs. If he was able to take in the Beihai Ice Palace and the Qinghai* Four Emperor Palace, two of the 3 Outside Powers, it would make it much easier for him to take over the entire Murim. His goal was to rule and control the Murim in the background, creating a Murim Empire never before seen in the history of Murim.[TN: I can’t recall if I ever made note of this, but I try to leave the words in pinyin for words that denote an actual region of China.]
As Pa Chun was caught up in his future plans…
A faint sound was heard.
‘A high-level Profound Movement Skill. By the sound of it, its users are moving extremely carefully as well.’
His curiosity peaked once again. He was currently in the Inner Court of the North Swords. Who could be moving about in secret in a place like this? While still lying in bed, Pa Chun’s body began to dissipate into thin air.
About half an hour after Pa Chun disappeared, Nangong Hyuk Ryun and Nangong Ah-Yeon came into his room. Realizing Pa Chun was missing, they tilted their head in surprise.
“Where did he go? I wanted to have a drink with him. Let’s go Ah-Yeon. We’ll meet him at the banquet later.”
‘Tsk, where did he disappear to? I can’t leave him be like this. I need to quickly turn him into my man. Otherwise, I won’t be able to sleep in peace.’
With this, the brother and sister duo left the room.
‘Ho, they’re something else alright. They’re moving stealthily through the shadows. They should be stronger than Smiling Sword at the very least.’
The sky was slowly turning darker. As it was nearing the end of autumn, the day was getting shorter. A person in a black uniform and mask was moving closer and closer to the center of North Swords, nearing the Divine Sword Pavilion. In Murim, there were only two men using the title Divine Sword. One was the current head of the Five Clans Union, the Firmament Divine Sword Nangong Hui*.[TN: mentioned in chapter 7; I changed the title in that chapter to what we have here.]
The other was the master of the Divine Sword Pavilion as well as the head of the North Swords, the Supreme Divine Sword Dok-Go Han-Chun. Some Murim-ins call him by the title Sword Emperor. His age was now 52, the youngest of the 4 Powers’ heads. 20 years ago, he succeeded his father, the Concealed Dragon Emperor Dok-Go Jung, becoming the 3rd head of the North Swords. At that time, he was widely known as the young prodigy, making several legends as he wandered through the Gang Ho Murim. His feat of achieving a thousand victories in the Martial Tournament was unprecedented in history. The rumor is that the previous head, the Concealed Dragon Emperor, is still living, and that he is teaching Dok-Go Han-Chun’s only son, Dragon Flying Sword Dok-Go Mu.
By the Divine Sword Pavilion, there was a small artificial lake. This was the most beautiful place within the North Swords’ headquarters, the Water Blossom Hall; at the same time, it was the residence of the Intelligent Beauty, Dok-Go Sul-Lan. She was the prided jewel of the North Swords’ head, and she had only just turned 19. When she was only 7, it was said that she stood head-to-head with the Imperial Palace’s royal scholar. As her appearance was nothing short of a world-class beauty, she received the adorations of countless men. With her intelligence and beauty, topped by her background, it was truly hard to find a woman as perfect as her. Along with the Transient Beauty, Jegal Cho-Hong, the heir to the Jegal Clan and the disciple of Nine Jung Alliance’s Shaman, they were called the Two Beauties of Murim.
Clueless about such things, Pa Chun continued to follow the shadow traveling in the night. Suddenly, a strange scene was captured in his sight. He detected several tens of men hiding around the lake, in bushes, trees, underground, and even beneath the lake. However, the shadow effortlessly continued on its way, quickly running across the lake. Of course, no one came out to stop the shadow.
‘Aha, this is where he was headed. They might mistake me for an intruder if I’m not careful. Should I go back? …No, since I came all the way here, I might as well go see what’s up. At the very least, I have to see who that was.’
Pa Chun activated the Heavenly Demon’s Concealment Skill to the extreme. This was the first time since his debut that he had used the technique to this degree. The Heavenly Demon’s Concealment Skill, fully used by his Inner Qi that infinitely neared 4 Cycles, held an unfathomable power. He could move through the tiniest cracks, and no trace of him would be felt. He was even able to pass by someone directed from the front, and still remain unnoticed. Even someone with a stronger Inner Qi level, although he would feel the fluctuations in the surrounding Qi, would still be unable to see him. Immediately, lifting his body up into the air, he soared through the lake, towards the place the shadow traveled.
The sound of pouring water suddenly stopped.
After a while, the bathroom door opened, and a beautiful girl wrapped in a towel walked out. Without paying attention to the dripping water, she sat down on chair, her leg crossed on top of the other. Because of this position, her secret place was in full view.
“How did it go?”
“Miss! Well… that is… I regret to inform you but…”
“Why are you stuttering, Hwan Sa? This isn’t like you. Just tell me everything.”
Ah, what a beautiful voice! Could this be what it sounds like to roll jade beads on a silver platter? No, even rolling diamonds on a golden platter would not make such a beautiful sound (it’d just be a rolling sound). In any case, her voice was as pure and fresh as a jade, comparable to her absolute beauty! Her eyes, especially, were jewels to behold, sparkling radiantly as if to suck in all surrounding light. Her eyes, slightly wet, seemed as if it would pour out tears at any moment, making whoever gazing into it want to listen to any of her desires. Truly, a mystical beauty!
“I’m guessing… that the rumors were true.”
The reporter was not kneeling down in respect, but rather standing up. With almost all of her face covered, the only thing visible were her eyes, delicate and gloomy. Her eyes were blue, a rarely seen color. Although her face was covered, from her stance without any openings, Pa Chun deduced that she was a strong expert. Her name was Hwan Sa! Her name was not known within the North Swords, and only the people of the Dok-Go clan knew of her. It was clear that she and the young miss had a master-servant relationship. The previous head, the Concealed Dragon Emperor, had personally raised her up to serve his beloved granddaughter. No one knew exactly what level of martial arts she had reached, but the Concealed Dragon Emperor was once known to have said: “If you were born a male, you would have undoubtedly shaken the very foundation of Murim, and I would have made you my grandson-in-law without the slightest hesitation.”
At Hwan Sa’s reply, the Intelligent Beauty Dok-Go Sul-Lan turned her body behind and let out a sigh. Her face was filled with unimaginable sorrow.
“Miss! What do you plan to do?”
It was quite uncharacteristic of Hwan Sa to ask Dok-Go Sul-Lan a question. In fact, it was a rare occurrence that happened once in a blue moon.
“What is there to do? Everything has been decided already…”
Dok-Go Sul-Lan’s sorrowful retort struck Hwan Sa’s heart with pain.
Hwan Sa was unable to say anything. She knew a hasty comfort would only worsen the situation.
“Can you… explain a bit more in detail?”
At this, Hwan Sa immediately replied.
“He was… simply said, an idiot. He’s nothing but a poser that participates in all kinds of disgusting deeds. More importantly, he was a man capable of murder and rape. He would lay his hands on his friend’s women and enjoy abusing women he bought with his money. More than a few women have already committed suicide because of this man, and many countless others have been murdered as well. His notoriety is spread through the small town he lives in, but no one can do anything about it because of his connection to the South Blades. Furthermore…”
“That’s enough… thank you.”
“You may go rest now, Hwan Sa.”
After bowing curtly, Hwan Sa turned around to leave.
At her master’s calling, Hwan Sa stopped her tracks, but she did not turn back around.
“If… you were me… what would you do?”
“If I were you… I’d… refuse. But I am not you.”
Right, and that was the problem. She did not have the courage to do such a thing.
“If I were to run away from home… would you help me?”
It was a difficult question, but Hwan Sa answered immediately and easily.
“Of course. My duty is to protect miss. I will stay by your side!”
“Thank you, Hwan Sa.”
Hwan Sa knew. She knew that her soft-hearted young miss would never dare to go against the wishes of her parents. And this made her heart ache even more.
When Hwan Sa finally left the room, Dok-Go Sul-Lan continued to just sit on her chair without the slightest thought of drying her wet hair. When she finally moved, both her hands held her head tightly. Then a weeping sound flowed out.
“*sob sob*… *sob*… Mother…”
She was crying. The way she held the sounds back to prevent any noise from ringing out made her look even more pitiful. Hwan Sa stayed in front of the closed doors to her room, silently listening to her crying voice. Her mask was stained with tears, and as if she could no longer stand it, she moved away from the door, to the opposite side of the hall.
Once Hwan Sa disappeared completely, someone had appeared from the shadows. It was Pa Chun. He had seen and heard everything that had just happened. He was surprised to see a woman of Hwan Sa’s caliber, but he was even more surprised to find out this place was the residence of the North Sword’s crown jewel. And of course, as he listened it on their story, he was surprised more than just once.
‘So that’s it. This is the reason why the South Blades started to support the North Swords. Murim… what a scary place! For his ambition, the North Swords’ head easily trampled on her daughter’s happiness. Huhu, if that’s the case, no need for me to feel sorry. Alright, the first step to my grand plan begins here! I will wait no longer. A sliver of consciousness had prevented me from taking action, but such things are long gone. I will directly obtain what I wish for.”
Pa Chun disappeared once again. Would anyone know? That Chun Ma’s Disciple, Pa Chun, had finally come to a decision.
Dok-Go Sul-Lan stood up from her seat. Though she was biting down on her lips, it seemed she had come to terms with her fate. She stood in front of a mirror. Slim waist, flowing hair, and skin as clear as jade. She herself thought that she was beautiful.
‘Ah~! If only Older Brother was still here… he would surely be on my side…’
But it was of no use. She had no idea where her older brother and grandfather was, and it wouldn’t be until half-a-year later that they would come back. Two and a half years ago, they left for a three-year training. The two people who had cared for her greater than anyone else in the world! Was this my fate? To think this decision would be made when they were gone on a trip!
Her hands reached for the knot of her towel. With a little twist, the knot was undone, and the towel drooped down to the floor. She was fully naked. She once again stared at the mirror, as if to inscribe the reflected image of her body onto her mind. Tears flowed down once again.
“What if I could just disappeared?”
Dok-Go Sul-Lan quickly turned around. Seeing nothing out of the ordinary, she titled her head.
“Did I hear wrong?”
She knew Hwan Sa was the only one within her residence. Knowing this, she once again sat back down on her chair, then began to dry her hair with the towel.
The sound had, of course, come from Pa Chun. He had entered once Hwan Sa left, and walked in on the naked Dok-Go Sul-Lan, letting out a sound in surprise. Even now, his heart did not seize its rapid beating.
‘Why did she take her clothes off? But… she’s… a real beauty. *Gulp*. Oh… is she going to put on an even better show for me?”
When Dok-Go Sul-Lan began to dry her hair, Pa Chun did not know where to place his eyes. Not only could he see every parts of her body, her ample breasts swayed with every movement of her hands! In the end, Pa Chun chose to turn away from this sight.
-Turn you head back, Pa Chun! You bastard, what are you doing to my fun time? Hm? Ah, please! Just turn back and… oh, how nice.
=Amitabul, Shizhu! You must leave this room. This is not what a gentlemen would do.
‘Ah, damn it…’
There was a clear reason why Huineng was so flustered and why Chun Ma was so happy. There was a small mirror beneath the bed head where Pa Chun had turned to, fully reflecting the scene that he had just seen. This time, however, Pa Chun continued to look through the mirror. The thought of turning his eyes away never occurred to him again. If this was the will of the heavens, how could he go against it?